Physical & Wave Electronics


Electromagnetics at UCLA’s Department of Electrical Engineering embodies all aspects of science and engineering topics stemming from Maxwell’s equations – equations which describe the behavior of electric and magnetic fields and their interactions with electric charges and currents. The science of electromagnetics underlies nearly all modern electric, computation, and communications technology. Both our coursework and research addresses theoretical, computational, optimization, design and measurement aspects of electromagnetic devices for a variety of applications, including wireless communications, satellite, space and ground systems, medical and sensor applications, multi-function antennas and metamaterials in frequencies ranging from microwaves and millimeter waves to terahertz. The results of our pioneering and award winning research work have appeared in numerous books, book chapters and first rate journal and conference publications.

Nanoelectronics, Devices and Heterogeneous Integration

In the area of nanoelectronics and solid-state devices, UCLA is at the forefront of research. Major research efforts are ongoing for the synthesis and design of advanced materials, such as two-dimensional semiconductors, topological insulators, and magnetic oxides – both their fundamental properties and their and their applications to ultra-scaled logic and memory devices. We also have extensive activities in the design and fabrication of ultra-scaled devices on both silicon and compound semiconductors, such as power and RF transistors, spin-based switches and memory elements, tunnel FETs, and other novel devices that are suitable for “end-of-roadmap” applications. Another major thrust is the development of neuromorphic (i.e. brain-inspired) devices and nanosystems for computation and information processing. Nanoelectronic devices are under investigation for use as sensors for compact biomedical sensing tools. This area also includes the development of Micro- and Nano- Electromechanical Systems (MEMS and NEMS). Many of these research activities take place in collaboration with other research groups, both within and outside EE, on circuit/system/device co-design and co-optimization. The nanoelectronics research in the department is supported by advanced commercial simulation tools for device analysis, a state-of-the-art nano-fabrication facility, and device characterization equipment with capability from DC to over 100GHz.


The field of photonics deals with the generation, detection, and manipulation of light – specifically how light can be harnessed to provide useful functions. For example, nearly all of the information on the internet is transported over long distances by encoding it onto signals of infrared light carried on optical fibers that encircle the globe. As another example, many unknown materials can be identified by studying how light interacts with them (i.e. by scattering, absorbing, phase shifting, or polarizing some incident photons). The name “photonics” emphasizes the importance of quantum mechanical properties light and the matter that it interacts with. Many topics in photonics research involve development and/or use of lasers. Our photonics research program at UCLA encompasses fundamental topics such as how light interacts both with matter on the nanoscale and in plasmas, as well as new ways to generate, detect, and control light in underdeveloped spectral regions. Applications under investigation include the diverse topics of solar energy generation from photovoltaic cells, lensless microscopy for cell-phone based telemedicine, high energy laser wakefield particle accelerators, ultra-high frame rate imaging based on ultrafast lasers, silicon photonics, biomedical imaging, and use of stabilized lasers for ultra-high precision measurements – to name just a few.

Plasma Electronics

Plasma Electronics at UCLA’s Department of Electrical Engineering covers a wide spectrum of activities that include electro-dynamics of charged particles in external fields, non-linear optics of plasmas, high energy-density plasmas, laser-plasma interactions, basic plasma behavior, computer simulations of laboratory and space plasmas and fusion plasmas. The applications being studied are plasma based charged particle accelerators, free electron lasers, other plasma based radiation sources, laser-fusion, astrophysical plasmas, plasma propulsion, gas lasers and plasmas for lighting. There are opportunities to do experimental, theoretical and computer simulations research in all these areas. Close collaborations exist with national laboratories at Livermore and SLAC and the group has in-house state-of-the art laboratories including the Neptune Laboratory that houses the world’s most powerful CO2 laser. The group also has the Dawson II computational cluster for research on inertial confinement fusion, plasma accelerators and astrophysical plasmas. The group enjoys a high reputation and regularly publishes in the highest impact journals.